Access Sunday and Disablities Awareness Week
The Reverend Sarah Lund has been called as the United Church of Christ’s first Minister for Disabilities and Mental Health Justice. What inspires her about this role? The Reverend Lund says, “The UCC’s commitment to disabilities and mental health justice drew me to this position. I am excited to support the UCC as we seek to live out our commitments to be A2A (Accessible to All) and WISE (Welcoming, Inclusive, Supportive, and Engaged) for mental health. I am inspired to work with lay leaders and clergy, supporting their efforts to reflect the extravagant love of God in Jesus Christ.
I enjoy the inspiring people I am honored to get to know doing this work. One of the main things I do is build relationships with pastors, lay leaders, Conference Ministers, National Staff colleagues, seminarians, and members of the wider community as we share stories about how our lives are shaped by disabilities and mental health justice.
The tempatation in the church is to think of disabilities and mental health justice as a side issue. It is challenging and critical to think of disabilities and mental health justice as part of every other justice issue. There is great opportunity in the places of intersectionality and that is where we are excited to explore moving forward. For example, as we continue to engage the whole church in our Sacred Conversations to End Racism, we can include in that conversation how disabilities and mental health justice intersect with racism.
Inviting churches to seek justice with people who live with disabilites and mental health diagnoses is important because it is what Jesus calls us to do. Jesus’ teaching call us to love our neighbors and loving our neighbors means seeking justice for people who live with disabilities and mental health challenges.
The UCC has a strong history of supporting disabilities and mental health justice thorugh the work of its ministers and congregations. We celebrate the important role of UCC minister Reverend Harold Wilke, a person with a disability who was a disability rights pioneer and activist involved in the pasage of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). We also celebrate the wider church’s commitment at the 25th General Synod in the adoption of the resolution ‘Called to Wholeness in Christ: Becoming a Church Accessible to All.’ We celebrate that at the 31st General Synod the wider church adopted the resolution to be WISE (Welcoming, Inclusive, Supportive, and Engaged) for mental health. The challenge that these celebrations offer is the opportunity and responsibility of the ongoing work.”
To find out more about how you can be engaged in this vital ministry, contact email@example.com.